Big things were expected out of rookie linebacker Xavier Adibi when the Texans drafted him in the fourth round this April. The Texans had a high grade on Adibi and felt fortunate that he fell to them in the second half of the fourth round. Defensive coordinator Richard Smith raved about Adibi's speed, hip explosion, body control and balance.
"We are very pleased with is athleticism, his production and his whole make-up about him," Smith said on draft day. "We think he's got a chance of being a very good football player and right away we see him competing on special teams."
Since that time, Adibi has dealt with a laundry list of maladies that have kept him off the field: a hamstring injury in mini-camp in May; an Achilles injury in the preseason; and a mysterious flu-like illness that lasted for weeks and resulted in weight-loss for the 6-2, 232-pound rookie.
Adibi played once this season - between his Achilles injury and illness - in Week 4, seeing action at linebacker and on special teams at Jacksonville. Now healthy, he's finally back in the mix at linebacker after starting strongside linebacker Zac Diles broke his tibia in practice yesterday.
Adibi has practiced at full speed for the past couple of weeks, and linebackers coach Johnny Holland says that Adibi has been able to gain back most of the weight lost when he was ill.
Though he wasn't happy to see Diles go down, Adibi can't wait for his opportunity to get on the field.
"I've been itching, man," he said yesterday in the Texans' locker room. "It's been killing me. I've been trying to stay very motivated. I've just been ready just to go out there and just show everybody what I can do... I'm very excited. I'm all smiles, to be honest with you, telling all my family about the opportunity that I have ahead of me. I'm just really excited about just going out there and just showcasing what I can do."